Why should you shoot in 4K?
Just a few years ago, 4K seemed like a thing of the future, but today it has become a standard in the camera industry which records the videos that can be viewed on 4K-resolution TVs and computer monitors. Whether or not you own a TV that has 4K resolution, there are more reasons to shoot 4K footage than viewing it on your TV. In this blog, we will look at what 4K means, and its benefits over shooting in HD (High Definition).
First, let’s go over what 4K means: 4K resolution is 4000 pixels horizontally (4096×2160), which is approximately the size of four standard 1080p video files. A 1080p video file contains 2 million pixels, whereas a 4K file contains 8.8 million. What makes this substantial is that you can shoot a video in 4K, and have a lot more data to play with before downsampling the video file to 1080p.
Downsampling from 4K to 1080p creates a significant difference in detail and quality. As a result, your video will appear cleaner and less noisy. While it’s true that some 4K cameras may not film as well as higher end HD cameras, this would usually involve lower end 4K cameras. In general, videos recorded in 4K are significantly sharper.
In post, when you stabilize videos shot in 1080p, your video crops down about 20%, and consequently you end up with a substantial loss in quality and sharpness. Your footage would be almost unusable, even by web standards. When a video is shot in 4K and stabilized in post, the quality loss after cropping is mostly imperceptible on the finished video after downsampling.
Image quality difference between a 4K still capture (top) vs. a 1080p still capture (bottom). The 4K still retains its clarity, while the 1080p still shows degradation and noise.
Similarly, the same idea goes for cropping overall – just like in RAW photography, the more information is there, the more you have to work with. This also applies to cropping videos, color grading, color keying on a green screen, and even frame composition. It simply maximizes your potential.
Getting those perfect pans and zooms using an HD camera is immensely challenging. The great thing about shooting in 4K is it practically eliminates the need to manually pan and zoom. These can be done in post, and your footage will look much better because you have so many pixels to work with.
One of the most useful ways 4K recording can be used is the capturing of stills from video. Up until a few years ago, taking a sharp and usable still out of video was nothing more than a fantasy. If you were to take a still from a video recorded in 1080p, it would not even be sharp enough for web use. Nowadays, 4K recording makes it possible to grab clean, crisp stills from your videos. Using the right shutter speeds and having a wide enough aperture play an important role here.
In conclusion, 4K video is a very useful tool for today’s professionals and consumers alike. While 4K is not yet a common household format, the goal is to enhance the standard on your HD footage. You are essentially future proofing your footage for when the day comes that 4K becomes a standard household format. The ability to capture stills from your videos is a priceless feature, and it has transformed the world of photography forever. In my next blog, I will go over Creve Coeur Camera’s latest and greatest 4K camera recommendations for both professionals and everyday users.
Don’t forget, every camera and lens purchase qualifies you for 5% in rewards, which can be used toward accessories, Mack warranties, classes, BizCard Express services and more!
-Grant Conner, Creve Coeur Superstore on Olive